Mold, how do I find you? Let me count the ways...

Looking for Mold

While the thought of mold may give some people nightmares along the lines of those you get after eating a dozen Buffalo wings and watching too many bad B movies, the real nightmares are those experienced by allergy and asthma sufferers when mold invades living spaces. The slimy stuff comes in many shapes, sizes, and colours, and many varieties have the potential to wreak havoc on the respiratory system.

While most exposure results in sneezing, headaches, or other minor inconveniences, some molds can have disastrous or even deadly effects. There's no good reason to take chances with your family's health when there are simple and reliable ways to detect mold so you can eliminate it. We've compiled a collection of simple to ways to get ahead of mold before it gets ahead of you.

Oh, the pretty colors…

The simplest way to detect some mold growth is to have a look around your home. Humid and damp locations are the best place to start as they create the right conditions for mold spores to germinate. While most of us imagine creeping masses of green and black slime, mold come in a surprisingly array of colors. While the mold that develops from some spores may be green or black, yellow, white, grey, black, and even pink molds aren't unheard of. These colors are often accompanied by unusual textures. Some molds manifest themselves as cottony, leathery, velvety, or grainy.

Look out for mold masquerading as a stain

Some molds mimic the look of an annoying stain or discoloration. This may make it easy to ignore until it spreads and starts causing problems. Actual stains on walls, in showers, etc. may be signs of mold waiting to happen. If you suspect mold, go after it right away. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Follow your nose.

The nose knows… Mold growth is often accompanied by a musty smell, so if your schnozz grows suspicious, there's a good chance mold may be lurking somewhere. Obtain a home test kit or bring in a professional to find out for sure. If you do find mold, be sure to take the proper steps to remedy the problem.

Go Retro

"Black" lights aren't just for groovy parties anymore. They can be used to detect mold growth in your home. Wave an ultraviolet bulb over active mold, and it will give up its location by emitting a yellowish glow. Fluorescent fixtures can be found anywhere from party suppliers to your neighborhood hardware store. There's no need to get fancy or fork over big bucks; any fluorescent light should do the trick.

Get scientific

A home mold-detecting kit is an easy and inexpensive way to detect creeping nastiness, and will give you the chance to feel like a bona fide crime scene investigator for a few minutes. Simply use the skills you acquired watching all those episodes of CSI to swab suspect areas, place your samples in the provided petri dish and wait patiently. If nothing grows, you're in the clear. If something does rear its ugly head, you can send your sample along to a lab and wait for the results to be verified. It you want to get really technical, you can use those fingerprint-lifting methods you've been dying to try out obtain a sample of mold which can be then forwarded to a lab for typing.

Let someone else do it

If the thought of playing hide and seek with the mold that may be lurking in your home, you can always leave the detecting up to the pros. Professional testers will probably use methods similar to those you can use on your own, but can also let you know the concentration of mold within your home. Another benefit of hiring a mold expert is that service usually includes tips and tricks you can use to get rid of mold.

Don't forget to test the air

While you may not always see mold during a visual inspection, it is possible for it to be present in the air, the ventilation system, the carpeting, inside walls, or in other unexpected locations. The longer it lingers undetected, the worse the potential for problems. The best way to detect airborne mold is to use a home test kit or bring in a specialist. No matter what method of mold-detection you use, be sure to take steps to eliminate the problem immediately.

Posted by: Ahmed Muztaba
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